Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau on ‘loaded’ Eastern Conference: ‘We weren’t fooling ourselves’

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports activities

Even after a run to the No. 4 spot within the Eastern Convention final season, not many expect the New York Knicks to copy such a shocking output in 2021-22 — doubtlessly even head coach Tom Thibodeau.

The Knicks misplaced their second straight sport following a 5-1 begin on Wednesday night time to the Indiana Pacers, one of many groups they completed above final season however ought to have a bit extra bother with this season. The identical goes with the Toronto Raptors, who took down the Knicks on Monday night time at Madison Sq. Backyard.

“We weren’t fooling ourselves. Just looking at the players on each team,” Thibodeau admitted. “The East is loaded. Every night you have to bring it. It’s an important part of winning is playing with an edge.”

He’s not mistaken. Simply take a look at the Knicks’ subsequent six video games.

They head to Milwaukee to fulfill the defending-champion Bucks on Thursday night time earlier than a reprieve in opposition to a Cleveland Cavaliers group that’s slated to complete close to the underside of the East once more. However then comes Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, a rematch with the Bucks at MSG, a visit to Charlotte to play the up-and-coming Hornets, and eventually, a house assembly with the exact same Pacers who got here away with a wire-to-wire win in Indiana on Wednesday night time.

The Bucks and Sixers are slated to complete inside the East’s prime three, however the Hornets and Pacers ought to very properly be within the dialog for a mid-to-lower tier playoff spot, which is the place New York ought to be this season.

As ought to the likes of the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Warmth, Chicago Bulls, and Boston Celtics — all of whom completed under the Knicks final 12 months.

“Sometimes you can feel good about yourselves and then you get knocked down,” Thibodeau stated. “Feel too good in this league, players are too good. We have to pick ourselves up and have a determination about us. You have to be mentally tough when facing adversity and that’s where we are right now.”

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